No Whining

As we approach Memorial Day, I am reminded about those remarkable men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.  I often think about my Dad who served as a medic in General George Patton’s 3rd Infantry Division and marvel.  How did a diminutive man from a large farm family earn a silver star and four purple hearts? Those awards alone are evidence of both his valor and ability to recover from injury and keep going. Yet, like many in his generation he rarely spoke about his heroic service. It was only many years later that I fully understood his bravery.  He told how an enemy shell hit his squad and he was the only man who survived. A long ugly scar on his leg, showed he barely escaped. At one point, he found himself behind enemy lines and spent two weeks hiding and maneuvering to eventually rejoin…
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Just this week I was interviewed on a podcast by my classmate, Laurel McHargue. Laurel is not only an award-winning author having published 8 books, she also hosts the highly successful podcast, Alligator Preserves (to listen in to our conversation, I have posted the interview on my website). As a seasoned interviewer, Laurel has this uncanny ability to make her guests feel welcome and completely relaxed. And although, we did not know each other very well at the Academy, we quickly discovered how similar our experiences were. In short order, we each recounted several of stories of our common West Point experience. Before much time had expired, we were both laughing as we reminisced. Near the end of the interview, I realized I was smiling, and my mood was exuberant. Isn’t that how it is when we are granted the freedom to be real with someone and belly laugh with…
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Problem Solving

Problem Solving My daughter, Larisa became a swimmer when she was just 12 years old. She joined a year-round swim team and later went on to compete in college. As a swim Mom, they never tell you how much a parent is required to do to support a swim team. Although volunteering never seemed a burden to me, there was one annual event that was incredibly challenging. Larisa’s team practiced in an outdoor pool until late fall when it became too cold to do so. Then the pool would need an inflatable pool enclosure or “bubble” so those swimmers could swim all through the winter and early spring when the apparatus would be taken down. However, erecting this mammoth bubble was an extreme undertaking. I remember arriving early on a Saturday morning with several other parents and the Coach. I assumed this would be a couple of hours of sweaty…
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On Love and Leading

     You have not heard from me in a few weeks in part, because I elected to have some surgery done on my right foot. The ensuing weeks have involved managing a good amount of pain while trying to work, being unable to drive, and being totally housebound. Initially, I had to stay off my foot, maneuver with crutches and rely on others for nearly every need including driving me to errands and appointments. My wonderful husband, Reed, cheerfully bore the brunt of this effort. A couple of days after the surgery however, he had to travel out of town for several days. It was my incredibly kind neighbors who stepped up to help me. Melissa brought me homemade soup and warm bread and Tammy helped me escape the cabin fever and took me to dinner.  The caring, loving actions of my husband and my neighbors demonstrate a fundamental…
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Do The Right Thing

Do the Right Thing As we begin a new year, it is healthy to look at the year in review and determine how me might improve. I believe assessing our personal integrity is a great way to begin personal reflection. As leaders our personal integrity is the foundation from which we build trust with those we hope to lead and influence. Trust will be eroded by a leader who embodies “Do what I say, not what I do.” And it is always more difficult to rebuild trust after it has been broken. With this in mind, let me share some lessons in doing the right thing that I learned at West Point. The idea of personal integrity was ingrained from the first moment I stepped off the bus and walked through the walls of gray at West Point. Early on, cadets are introduced to the Cadet Honor Code. The code…
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